Power Houseplants: Dracaena "Janet Craig"

Power Houseplants - Dracaena %22Janet Craig%22.jpg

Last week we learned about the Golden Pothos, one of the most common and easy-to-grow plants on the list of 50 houseplants that purify a home or office. This week, we're getting to know the Dracaena, commonly known as Janet Craig, one of the top five plants in this collection!

As we know, houseplants are powerful and useful feng shui adjustments and are excellent additions to a holistic space to improve mood and indoor air quality. The Dracaena is one of the best options for the latter use and is a great choice for office spaces, as it is one of the best removers of trichloroethylene, a VOC that is produced by photocopiers and similar machines. The Janet Craig is also one of the top five ranking plants in removal of formaldehyde, a much more common volatile compound produced by many household items, from fabrics to grocery bags to upholstery and more. 

Similar in appearance to the lucky bamboo we often use, the Dracaena is a lush plant with dark green leaves that can grow up to ten feet tall! If you don't have that kind of space, there is a Compacta version that only reaches about three feet. This version is actually ideal for indoor growing, especially if your space lacks light or you're a forgetful gardener. It's hearty enough to live through neglect and low light, and it can live for decades! 

To Grow Successfully:

- Look for any light available in a dimly lit space. The Dracaena can grow in shade, but it will move more slowly. Its ideal environment is shade with some sunlight.
- Keep a temperature of 60 - 75 degrees. This plant can grow in lower temperatures, but the leaves may be yellow, rather than green.
- Keep your plant's soil evenly moist, and don't let the roots dry out. 
- If possible, fertilize every two weeks in spring and summer
- Clean the leaves occasionally with a damp cloth

Check out the plants on our How to Grow Fresh Air post, and let us know which one you'd like to learn about next!

by Anjie Cho


Power Houseplants: The Golden Pothos

Power Houseplants - The Golden Pothos.jpg

Adding plants to your space is one of the easiest, most common feng shui adjustments. Plants of all types can be added for many reasons, whether it be to bring more Wood element into a home, provide a healing atmosphere, welcome prosperity, improve air quality or more. There are thousands of types of houseplants and indoor trees, but some are more symbolic than others, and some are more effective at accomplishing certain goals.

The Golden Pothos is one of the most popular of all houseplants and is easily a great choice. I recently mentioned Dr. B.C. Wolverton's book, How to Grow Fresh Airand the Golden Pothos is one of the top 50% in his list of houseplants for purifying air. Not only does it remove a large amount of chemicals and vapors due to its high transpiration rate, it is also very resistant to insects and is arguably the easiest plant to grow and maintain. 

This plant is actually a vine, with heart-shaped leaves that range in color from golden (thus the name) to lush green and maintain color even when low on sunlight. Though the Golden Pothos is a vine and can be trained to climb, it is often grown in hanging pots (like this one) and can actually be cultivated in almost any potting medium. It's a great plant for cuttings, as these take root easily in water, and overall, it's an ideal houseplant for beginners or those with forgetful watering tendencies. I have a Golden Pothos I was given when I moved to the city over a decade ago! It's survived through basement apartments, cold winters and much more. 

To Grow Successfully:

- Maintain temperatures between 65 - 75 degrees, and do not let it get cooler than 50 degrees.
- Let the soil dry slightly between watering.
- If possible, feed your plant weekly during its growing season.
- Clean the leaves occasionally with a damp cloth. 

Keep an eye on the blog, as I'll be sharing some of the best options for houseplants, one by one!

by Anjie Cho


My Favorite Things: 5 Indoor Planting Tools

Welcome to My Favorite Things! Each month, we highlight products to help you create a holistic lifestyle that inspires and nurtures you, so that you can be happier and feel supported.

April hosts one of our favorite holidays, Earth Day, coming up in a couple of weeks! There are many ways to go green, from making easy, small changes, to checking your carbon footprint or donating to great causes. You can also go green by adding a little actual greenery to your space! Look out for our list of indoor trees next week, but before then, take a peek at my favorite indoor plant necessities!


Hand Pruning Shears

Whether you're just keeping your plants up or sharing them through cuttings (which I love to do!), you'll need pruning shears if you're growing indoors. 

There are many varieties of hand shears, but it's important to make sure you choose a pair that is easy to use for you and strong enough for your plants. I love these pruning shears from Gardenite, because they're high quality, strong and the ratchet feature makes using them a breeze!

Available at: Amazon


Double Macrame Hanging Planter

Some of my favorite houseplants are hanging in windows in my bathroom and kitchen. Double hanging planters are the perfect tool for getting plants great light and brightening your space

This planter is handmade with natural cotton sourced locally in Canada and comes in three different lengths to match your space perfectly! I love the neutral color and gentle material. It's like cuddling your plants!

Available at: FreeFille


EM-1 Microbial Inoculant

My mother-in-law and her husband are plant experts who teach all around the world, and a few years ago, Hugh (her husband) recommended this conditioner for my houseplants. I love it!

EM-1 is great as a general conditioner for all plants and can fight issues like chlorine poisoning and more by creating healthy micro-organisms. Just add an ounce to a gallon of water!

Available at: TeraGanix


Recycled Glass Spray Bottle

Many plants, including at least one of our favorite indoor trees, require significant amounts of humidity in addition to just water in the soil. Keeping a spray bottle of water nearby is perfect for providing this indoors. 

This bottle is made from recycled glass and holds 8 ounces of water for small or larger houseplants. It's also BPA free, handmade and features a clean, holistic design that won't stick out like a sore thumb! 

Available at: Rail19


Ceramic Planter

Don't forget the most important thing for keeping nature in your holistic spaces - planters! The type of planter you use will depend on what your plant needs, but I love this handmade stoneware option from RehnWorks. 

These hand-thrown, hand-glazed planters are made to order, include drainage holes and are even available in larger sizes than listed. Not to mention they add a beautiful Wood element color to your space in addition to the plant itself! 

Available at: RehnWorks



Jacq's Organics, All Natural Beauty

This week, I interviewed Barbara Jacques, founder of Jacq's Organics, an all-natural apothecary created with families in mind. It was so much fun to hear her take on why natural beauty products are the way to go.

Be sure to check in TUESDAY on the Holistic Spaces Facebook for a special giveaway from Holistic Spaces + Jacq's Organics!


AC: Tell me about your story starting Jacq's Organics.

BJ: In 2011, I was inspired to begin my research on all-natural bath and skincare after my husband and I learned I had an ovarian tumor during my pregnancy. I became obsessed with learning about my tumor, baby bath products, preservatives and ingredients.

At the time, the majority of the products available on the market contained the toxic ingredients I was trying to avoid, especially in baby care products. Frustrated, disappointed and irritated with what was available, I started researching; formulating and creating my own bath products for my family.

After the birth of my daughter, we launched Jacq’s Organics in the spring of 2012. 

What are 3 ingredients to watch out for in our beauty products?

3 ingredients...there are a minimum of 12, but to be honest, our skin is the largest organ. What we put on our skin has a systematic effect on your overall health. There's a list of the dirty dozen, the 12 most common ingredients used in products that are harmful. You can find the list on www.ewg.org, The Environmental Working Group site, but the 3 ingredients I'd say to avoid are:

Mineral oil - it's a byproduct from crude oil/petroleum - it clog pores, coats skin like a plastic bag and interferes with skin’s ability to eliminate toxins.

DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine) & TEA  (triethanolamine):  You can find these in many beauty products. Studies show that these ingredients, used as a preservative, cause irritation, and headaches. They're hormone-disrupting chemicals and linked to liver and kidney cancer.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) & Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES): This preservative is used in many cleansing products including dishwashing detergents, degreasers, bath, hair and beauty products. It's been linked to breaking down your skin's immune system and more.

What are 3 simple tips for readers who want to go organic with their beauty products?

My first tip for readers looking to go organic with their beauty products is to start with your food. The best way to go green with beauty is from the inside out. I strongly believe that beauty radiates from the inside out, and what you eat is just as important as what you put on your skin. The rest will follow.

My second tip for readers looking to go organic with their beauty products is to Keep it Simple. On our blog, we published an article discussing the stages of going organic with your beauty products called What Shade of Green Are You? We elaborate in detail on the simple steps you can take when switching beauty products. We talk about the different stages, including light green for beginners, medium green for intermediate and dark green for individuals that are well versed on ingredients, beauty products and more. As a beginner, shop products that you are able to read the ingredients, and experiment with D.I.Y. facials and scrubs using ingredients from your pantry

My third tip is to arm yourself with tools and resources. My two favorite books for beginners include Eat Pretty Nutrition for Beauty, Inside and Out by Jolene Hart and Holistic Beauty from Inside Out by Julie Gabriel. Both books are jammed pack with information on food, nutrition, skin care, ingredients and even recipes. 

There are so many resources available online, like the Environmental Working Group, www.ewg.org, that work to keep consumers in the know about food, household and beauty products and more. They send out articles on ingredients, laws, environmental changes and more. It's an amazing resource. There's also a cosmetic database compiled with a list of hundreds, if not thousands, of products ranks from 0 to 10 based on their ingredients, so consumers are aware of which ones to stay away from. 

What's your favorite product from Jacq's Organics? 

My favorite Jacq's Organics has to be our Carrot con Leche Cleansing Bar. It was created when a family member really needed a product to help combat breakouts. It's made with fresh, organic carrot that we grate and mash, and organic rice milk that we make in our studio. It's the only cleanser I use on my face and just love the soap bubbles and natural scent.

How have you created Holistic Spaces in your life? 

At home, I try to create a space that feels cozy, warm and inviting, which is extremely important with a toddler running and jumping around. I have throw sheets on every couch with soft pillows for jumping and throwing. Stackable wicker boxes as side tables for her toys and organization. We also have a couple of great abstract art pieces on our wall created by our little one. I really enjoy sitting on the floor with my little one. Makes for a perfect location for crafts, reading or cuddling. Come to think of it, our home is a combination of warm earth tones with pops of green, blue and yellow.

My entire family suffers from allergies, so our home is filled with plants that help purify the air. The plants, for me, are relaxing but they also give me an opportunity to teach my daughter about plants. She loves watering the plants and asking questions about the different plants and herbs we have. I also use aromatherapy in our home. In the morning, I like to light our Le Soliel Candle. The citrus scent is refreshing and a great way to start the day. I also like to light palo santo and hand-made incense from Japan to help clear the air, and the scents are soothing and calming. If I've had a long day, I like to end the night with our La Lune candle.

I've always been into Feng Shui, even more so during my college days. However, between home, work and juggling a family, trying to find a balance can sometimes feel unattainable. One way for me to create a holistic space is by avoiding clutter. This helps so much. When it comes to our home, I try to create an open, clean space that will allow room for more chi so the kiddo can run around and I can breathe and find balance.

by Anjie Cho


Barbara Jacques is a yogi, recovering beauty product junkie, Founder and Formulator at Jacq's Organics. With an uncanny drive to help and aide those in need, she has worked in the not-for-profit sector in Development at a well known national social and community based organizations. After years of juggling a full-time job and running Jacq’s Organics, an all-natural apothecary line created for a growing family, Barbara decided to take on the beauty industry full-time. The company’s mission is to be socially responsible and seek to promote and encourage healthy alternatives that everyone in your family can love and enjoy. She speaks on beauty, holistic health and enjoys all things beauty, volunteering, cooking, running, yoga, traveling and entertaining family and friends. 


Decorating With Seasonal Flowers

canstockphoto0145245.jpg

A bouquet of fresh flowers can add a pop of color and energy to a room. To really make a statement, however, look to incorporate hues and floral varieties that are in season. When you embrace nature’s floral decorating style as your own, you are able to take a simple bouquet and turn it up a notch.

Spring

Think first about color: spring hues include bright blues, yellows and pinks. If you’re going to reach for standard floral arrangements, stick to that color palette. If you’re ready to really commit to the season, however, think bulbs. Tulips and daffodils are spring’s floral staples. If you select potted versions of either you can try to plant them outdoors after the blooms fade so you’ll have them in your garden the following year. 

Summer

Reach for something bold, bright and vibrant when selecting summer colors for your arrangements. Brightly colored gerbera daisies, zinnias, snapdragons and dahlias are big personality flowers. Mix them together or display a single variety in a fun container. Summer’s old-fashioned garden roses are a classic choice. If your green thumb extends outdoors, look to your beds. Cuttings of lavender, wildflowers and other garden favorites can make a beautiful, casual summer bouquet in the right container.

Autumn

It’s time for deep hues of red, gold, and amber. We typically associate this season with falling leaves and gardens browning up before they die back for winter. However, autumn can be bold and bright, offering seasonal flowers like the warm, dark-eyed sunflower. Don’t overlook the last vestiges of your flower beds for clippings, either. Those deep hued blue and purple hydrangeas may be tinged with pale green tones and hint at fading. As cut flowers go, those hydrangeas can make a statement!

Winter

It’s not often that we associate winter with flowers other than the traditional poinsettia. If you’re looking for something different, go for roses in rich shades of red and white. A bouquet of those two hues, especially if mixed with some boughs of holly or feathery branches of evergreen, add an elegant twist to winter décor.

Not only does incorporating seasonal flowers give your home a fresh taste of nature and a breath of positive energy, arranging your selected bouquets can be a meditation practice all on its own. Check out my experience with KADO here

by Anjie Cho